Category Archives: Poetry

This is an evolving collection of poems which I think kids will enjoy. May it be that our kids don’t just learn how to read and write, but also the marvellous possibilities that words can bring.

John O’Donohue: A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted

Some months ago an older woman whom I greatly respect introduced me to the poetry of John O’Donohue. His poems, for me, occupy that rare space between humanity and the divine, a sort of linguistic thin place.

Today I returned to this poem, felt my breathing slow, a calm return. Perhaps it might bless you too.

A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The ride you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

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Seventh Day: Covenant

Lately, I’ve had the occasion to think about landlords, tenants, rents and ownership. Which brings to mind this wonderful unpublished poem by someone named Margaret Halaska. Pilgrim Dad and I went on a contemplative retreat recently and this was given to us as one of the readings.

COVENANT

God
knocks at my door
seeking a home for his son:

Rent is cheap, I say.

I don’t want to rent. I want to buy, says God.

I’m not sure I want to sell,
but you might come in to look around.

I think I will, says God.

I might let you have a room or two.

I like it, says God. I’ll take the two.
You might decide to give me more some day.
I can wait, says God.

I’d like to give you more,
but it’s a bit difficult. I need some space for me.

I know, says God, but I’ll wait. I like what I see.

Hm, maybe I can let you have another room.
I really don’t need that much.

Thanks, says God, I’ll take it. I like what I see.

I’d like to give you the whole house
but I’m not sure…

Think on it, says God. I wouldn’t put you out.
Your house would be mine and my son would live in it.
You’d have more space than you’d ever had before.

I don’t understand at all.

I know, says God, but I can’t tell you about that.
You’ll have to discover it for yourself.
That can only happen if you let me have the whole house.

A bit risky, I say.

Yes, says God, but try me.

I’m not sure—
I’ll let you know.

I can wait, says God. I like what I see.

– Margaret Halaska

How to Read Classic Literature At the Office

My friend PS over at Escapades is not only a superb running shoe consultant, she also unearths some of the most fabulous Internet gems.

Like this one, that gives you the perfect cover for stealth consumption of literary classics at the office. As a lover of literature, I thought this was one of the cleverest things I’ve seen on the web in a long while!

Of Garage Sales And Wondrous Treasures

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Our 6th multi-family charity garage sale flew by on the blessed wings of gorgeous weather, generous donors, faithful helpers and bargain hunters. We had items of every category from 27 (!!) families, and a steady stream of customers, especially on the first day. And I am delighted to share that we raised almost $2,500 for missions work in the Philippines!

One of the things I love about garage sales is the serendipitous discovery. For me, this mostly happens in the books section. And this garage sale did not disappoint. Continue reading

Gerard Manley Hopkins: Inversnaid

As a student, I used to love the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. It wasn’t intellectual like TS Eliot, nor contemplative like Wordsworth. It wasn’t trying to be anything except a joyful exploration of how sound and language could represent the world around us. At his best, Hopkins’ poetry was worship. My favourites are The Windhover and Pied Beauty.

And continuing on the theme of nature from the last post, I’ve just discovered this one (Inversnaid is a waterfall in Scotland). What a rallying cry in the last stanza! – Pilgrim Mom Continue reading

John G Saxe: The Blind Men and the Elephant

A few nights ago, I told Athos and Porthos the story of the six blind men of Hindustan. It made an impression on Athos because he asked me to tell him the story again today. And midway through the story, I suddenly remembered that there’s a poetic version. It’s a fun one for kids because it is both accessible and wise. So here it is for your enjoyment: Continue reading

Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken

Today, the current circumstances of my life led me to think about Robert Frost and this wonderful poem, so often quoted that it’s almost a cliche. Happily for a child, cliches are the stuff of many tomorrows. For now, I would submit these wise words of Frost for their reflection. – Pilgrim Mom Continue reading